- What to look for in a Monocular?
- Our Top 5 Monocular Picks
- 3 Best Night Vision Monocular
- Honourable Mention
Monoculars are a magnifying device used for viewing distant objects. They work on the same principle as binoculars where the only difference is we use only our one eye to see through a Monoculars whereas, we use both our eyes with binocular. In comparison to binoculars, monoculars are compact (basically half the size), lightweight, portable and also half the price. All these features make monocular a great alternative to binoculars.
With the variety of options available in the market, it is a very difficult task for a beginner/newbie to pick the best value for money monocular. Value for money means, a device that is rugged, a device that is durable, a device that features the best optics in its price and a device that will not fail you under pressure.
Fortunately, on Telescopefever.com we handled that research for you and on the basis of ownership and reviews we come up with the top 9 devices that make it to our “Best Monoculars for the Money” list.
What to look for in a Monocular?
In this section, we talk about the features and important points about Monoculars that a user should keep in mind before making a purchasing decision.
Let’s get started:-
The first thing to consider before purchasing a monocular is its magnification power. Magnification power decides how far and how detailed you can see something. If you look at any monocular specs, you will always see two numbers. For example (ABC 6X30), here 6X represents the power of device which means if an object/bird is at a distance of 60m with this monocular it would appear to be at a distance of 10m. While going with a higher magnification can seem like a better option but there are some cons to it as well.
- It gets very difficult for the user to keep his device stable at higher magnification. Any small amount of hand movement will make image jump more at higher magnification. Focusing on an object becomes impossible then.
- With higher magnification power your field of view also gets lower.
That is the reason why we recommend a monocular having a magnification of 6X to 10X.
Another important feature is the size of the lens. Bigger the size of the lens more amount of light will enter into the device that will eventually result in brighter and sharper image. In the same example mentioned above (ABC 6X30), here 30 is the size of the lens and it is always denoted in mm.
For a value for money and all-round performance, we recommend 30mm to 42mm monocular.
Type of Optics
Another important feature to consider is the quality of optics. For clearer, sharper and crisp view at higher magnification your optics must be of higher quality. Make sure your device has BaK-4 prism glass and has a fully-multicoated optics (FMC). In fully multi-coated devices, all sides of all the lenses have multiple layers of anti-glare coating which enhance your view through monocular.
# Better coating will result in sharper picture quality without any glare but it will also increase the price of the device.
Close focus is the minimum distance at which device is capable of focusing on some object. Always consider close focus capability of monocular. Since monocular is a handheld device, this feature can really help you to view objects in details when they are a few feet away from you. Imagine viewing a butterfly or some rare insect through your monocular. Amazing!!!
Eye relief is the fixed distance between your eyes and the monocular eyepiece. When your eye is the correct distance from eyepiece lens, the field stop will appear sharp and your eyes will obtain full viewing angle without any obstruction, all necessary light rays coming through eyepiece enter into your pupil. If you wear eyeglasses always look for minimum eye relief of 14mm.
This feature is only important if you are planning to use your device at night. If you a going to use your monocular at night where the moon is the only source of light available or some other dark place where even moonlight is not reachable, opt for a model that has a night vision and also has a built-in IR (infrared illuminator). If you are interested in knowing how a night vision device works, we wrote an article “Best night vision binoculars for the money” there we had discussed the working of night vision device (NVD) and its Generations in detail. Go check it out.
Our Top 5 Monocular Picks
1) Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular
Objective lens: 42mm
Eye Relief: 15.2″
Exit Pupil: 4.2mm
Field of View: 340′ at 1000 yards
Best Suitable for: Expert users for bird watching, hunting, sightseeing etc.
This monocular from Bushnell boasts strong magnification of 10x with bigger 42mm objective lens where lens is fully multi-coated and also has PC3 phase correction coating and ultra wide band coating. All this coating allows the maximum amount of light to enter from the front glass all the way back to the eyepiece. In addition to fully multi-coated optics, this monocular from Bushnell also features a BaK-4 prism where the glass in the prism is ED (Extra-low Dispersion) prime glass.
ED prime glass helps reduce color dispersion or color fringing that happens at higher magnification because of the different wavelength of light. To further improve the performance Bushnell has implemented a Rainguard HD coating on the lens to repel water, moisture, oil from lens surface. Company has also provided an Ultra wide band coating to improve light transmission rate and optical clarity. Thanks to all this coatings and optics, we experienced serious improvement in performance. In fact, target shooters have reported that they were clearly able to view 5.62mm holes at the distance of 50yds and 7.62mm holes at 150yds. FoV (Field of View) is also amazing on this device. This Ultra HD monocular from Bushnell also provide the wider field of view of 340ft at 1000yrd that doesn’t feel like I’m looking down a straw. This wider FoV really helps in tracking fast moving birds
Overall if you are looking for something easier to carry than binoculars, but do not want to give up clarity this monocular is right device for you.
|Waterproof & fog proof.||We are still trying to find one. 🙂|
|Compact & Lightweight (only 5.4” and 354g).|
|The rubberized outer coating makes it extra durable.|
|Excellent wider field of view.|
|More than 90% customer has given above 4-star, this speaks for the quality of the device.|
|No questions asked Lifetime warranty from Bushnell.|
2) Vortex Optics Solo R/T Tactical Monocular
Magnification: 8 x
Eye Relief: 18 mm
Field of View: 393 feet/1000 yards
Close Focus: 16.4 feet
Best Suitable for: Expert and Beginners user.
If you want a dual purpose monocular, a monocular that can bring objects closer as well as it also helps you manually estimate the distance between you and the object you wish to view through it then Vortex Optics Solo R/T Tactical Monocular is a right device for you. It is a reliable rangefinder that comes with silhouettes which help in determining how far an object is situated from you. You measure, with your eye, the sub tension of an object on the reticle and, if you know the actual length (or width) of the object you are viewing, a simple bit of arithmetic gives you the range. Device comes with a flared eyecup that folds up and down and also blocks stray light to give its user comfortable and high-quality viewing experience.
For maximum light transmission inside the tube, Vortex did multiple layers of anti-reflective coating on all air to glass surface. Other than that this monocular also boasts same other features mentioned with our first pick (above) such as, product is durable thanks to its rubber armor coating that provides secure, non-slippery grip. Device is waterproof as well as fog proof. It also comes with utility clip that can be used to clip the device to a variety of attachment such as backpack, pants etc. for convenience during transportation. Overall a good, sharp, high quality, hard to beat monocular at an affordable price.
|Clear optics with sharp images.||Focus ring is little stiff and trying to achieve a sharp focus gets difficult sometimes.|
|Durable (Rubber armored grip)|
|Waterproof & Fog proof||The user needs to invest extra in lens cap (affiliate link) since Vortex has not provided any lens cover with this device.|
|Rangefinder/Reticle scale is accurate.|
|Great close focus of 16.4ft.|
|Compact & Light weight (5.4” & 289g)|
|Vortex unconditional lifetime warranty.|
3) Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular
Eye Relief: 17 mm
Field of View: 289 feet/1000 yards
Close Focus: 16.4ft
Best Suitable for: Beginners
Cool and unique gadget here from Amazon. Gosky titan is a highly powerful monocular that features a 50mm FMC green film objective lens which allows more light transmission and brightness with 12x magnification. In addition BaK-4 prism and coated blue eyepiece makes your view brighter, sharper and crisp. This also comes with smartphone adapter that can turn your phone into somewhat a camera with a telephoto lens for a fraction of a price. Pretty cool if you’re into capturing the moment during outdoor adventures. It also comes with rubber armor coating with stripes that gives extra protection and keep it safe from slipping out of your hand.
|Fully Multi-coated Green Objective Lens Coating and coated blue eyepiece.||Phone adapter is not flexible enough to fit your phone.|
|Excellent Image quality. In fact, quality is at par with some other expensive monoculars available in the market.||It gets difficult for a user to stabilize the image at higher magnification. Invest in an additional tripod if you are interested in taking pictures with it (btw up to 10x you can manage with your hand).
|Eyepiece and lens cover are included in the package.|
|Waterproof & Fogproof.|
|Excellent customer support.|
4) Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered Monocular
Eye Relief: 14 mm
Field of View: 246 feet/1000 yards
Close Focus: 16ft
Best Suitable for: Beginners
This high power monocular made by Wingspan is one of the best affordable monocular available in the market. More than 93% above 4-star rating on Amazon speaks for its quality. The device comes with 50mm Objective lens with 12 x magnification. Because the lens is so big, it not only lets in more light but also gives wider fields of view at full 12x magnification (246ft/1000yds).
One common problem with all these high powered monocular is the amount of shake they produce at full magnification during handheld use but Wingspan has completely solved this problem by providing an addition steel tripod in the package. When it comes to durability Wingspan has left no stone unturned with this product. Device comes with non-slip grip that provides durable external protection while it also comes with lens and eyepiece covers to make sure you don’t accidentally scratch the optics. All in all a good compact, lightweight monocular at an affordable price.
|Excellent clarity||There is no clarity about the coating on the optics. Wingspan has nowhere clearly stated that whether it has fully multi-coated optics or not.(still the image quality is great there is complain about that).|
|Waterproof and fog proof.|
|Comes with nylon carrying case also lens and eyepiece cover for extra protection of device.|
|Steel tripod is also included in the package.||Tripod is so short you’d need to rest your chin on the table to use it.|
|Wide FoV (246ft/1000yds)|
5) SVBONY 10×50/12×50 Monocular
Eye Relief: 16.8 mm
Field of View: 304 feet/1000 yards
Close Focus: 8.2ft
Best Suitable for: Kids above 8-10 yrs.
It is rare to see any product on Amazon getting a 5-star review from almost 100 percent of its customer. This monocular from SVBONY is as such device which consistently gets 5 stars from its customer. This itself speaks the quality of the device. SVBONY has launched two variants of this product one with 10x magnification and other with 12x magnification. The best part of this deal is both are priced at the same price on Amazon ($46.99). Talk about its feature this monocular also boasts same features mention with other monoculars in this list.
|Decent quality, perfect for kids or amateur users.||Don’t expect to look too far away with this device up to 100ft it does a good job.|
|Cheapest on this list.|
|Both 10×50 & 12×50 at same price.|
|Easy to use|
3 Best Night Vision Monocular
1) Barska NVX100 3x Night Vision Monocular
Magnification: 3x optical & 2x digital
Aperture: 14.5 mm
Focal length: 16mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 3.3′ (1 m)
Infrared Illuminator: Built-in, LED
850 nm wavelength
3 W output power
Battery / Runtime: 4 x AA batteries / 2-5 h
Voltage requirements: 4.5-6 V
Weight: 247 g
NVX100 night vision monocular is a compact, lightweight device Barska that comes with a variety of unique feature at an affordable price. Talking about the optics, this monocular features a 14.5mm objective lens with 1/5”digital image sensors, 3x optical magnification, and 2x digital magnification. Like any other night vision device, it also boasts an infrared illuminator that produces an 850mw beam with an output power of 3w which enables us to view up to 328ft at night in completely dark.
Device comes with micro SD card slot & 4GB SD card that will help you to capture images as well as video while using the monocular which can later be easily transferred to computer or television. One thing you should remember the video is in 640×480 resolution (not in HD) in H.264 format. IR illuminator has 6 level of brightness that can be adjusted by repeatedly clicking IR on/off button. In our opinion, lowest setting and in some case level 2 and 3 is sufficient and gives the decent image.
Note: – Some users on Amazon complained that they were unable to see anything through it while using it during the daytime. Actually, the problem is we think they forget to remove the eyepiece cap while using in the daytime when the light is sufficient and IR illuminator is off. The device comes with eyepiece cap which needs to be removed when the monocular is used during daytime. The main purpose of this cap is to block the IR beam when you’re not in night mode.
|3x optical magnification||The instruction manual is junk btw you can take help of YouTube videos for tutorial.|
|It can record videos & capture images.|
|Easily transfer files to a computer with micro SD card.|
|Built-in Tripod mount|
|Device runs on cheap 4xAA batteries that are easily available anywhere.|
|Comes with neck strap and soft carrying case.|
2) Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular
Zoom: 5 to 13.5x digital zoom
Angle/Field of View: 9.5 m @ 1000 m
Maximum Range: 750′ (229 m)
Infrared Illuminator: Yes
Battery Type: 4 x AA
Memory: micro SD card slot, up to 32 GB
Video: 640 x 480 resolution
Photo: JPEG format, 640 x 480 resolution
Tripod Adaptable: Yes, 1/4″-20 mount
Weight: 624 g
Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular from Bushnell is a high-quality 2nd generation device (click here to know more about NVD generations) where instead of conventional intensifier tube Bushnell has used an infrared-sensitive CMOS sensor for its night vision capabilities. In addition to the excellent internal component it also comes with a fully multi-coated optics that increase the light transmission and reduces any glare. High optical components allow the device to achieve magnification up to 4.5x and range close to 230m in a completely dark environment.
The device also comes with an inbuilt micro SD card slot which supports up to 32 GB memory card and a USB port to transfer the file from monocular to computer without the need of removing SD card. There is also an RCA video-out port which helps to live stream the video feed to monitor. Bushnell has also taken every minute details under consideration to give its user a unique and comfortable viewing experience. Auto-off after 10min of inactivity helps to save the battery life is such excellent feature. In my opinion, it is the way better device I was expecting at this price.
|4.5X optical magnification
& Generation 2nd NVD.
|IR illuminator projects dim red light that can sometimes spook your target.|
|Longer range (305m)|
|40mm objective lens|
|Fully multi-coated optics.|
|It can record videos & capture images.|
|Comes with carrying case for safety.|
|Water resistant (not waterproof)|
3) Night Owl iGEN 20/20 Day/Night Vision Monocular
Field-of-View: 211m at 1000m
Minimum Focus Distance: 24.0″ (61cm)
Power Source: Four 1.5V “AA” batteries
iGen 20/20 is the most advanced monocular featured in our “Best night vision monocular list”. Night Owl has implemented a new and unique technology in its iGen 20/20 night vision monocular. Instead of using an image intensifier tube which is very common in other standard night vision device Night owl has used CCD (Charged Coupled Device) image sensor which is very common in modern digital cameras. Image intensifier tube used to do the complicated task of collecting the photons from incoming light then converting them to the electron, after that amplifying them before sending them onto phosphor screen that converts that electron again into visible light.
Instead of converting the light into an electron, Night owl converts those light into an electric signal with the help of CCD which is then showed on a micro LCD screen. The biggest advantage of this system is you can use you monocular 24/7 day and night without compromising the quality.
Let’s say you are using this device and ambient light prohibits clear viewing, now thanks to its new image processing technology you can enhance the light gathering technology by simply adjusting the frame rate from 2-30fps. At night, IR illuminator also does the same thing it automatically adjust itself for varying level of darkness to accommodate ambient lighting conditions.
|Futuristic night vision technology which gives tough completion to highly expensive generation 2 device and in some case surpasses it.||Nothing yet. We think it is a perfect device for its price.|
|Adjustable exposure time (2-30fps)|
|Smart infrared with 3 modes.|
Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular
Field-of-View: 6.8m at 100yds
Power Source: Four 1.5V “AA” batteries
Waterproofing: water resistant
6x50mm HD Night vision monocular from Bestguarder does all the same work as the other two device/monocular mentioned above. The only difference is it does all those things in HD. Like it can take videos in 1280×720 pixels resolutions and image in maximum 2592x1942pixel regulations. As a functioning monocular, it boasts a strong magnification of 6x and comes with a 50 objective lens. This feature contribute to clear view at distance up to 1150ft. In fact reviewers regularly praise this monocular for the quality of image it produce. It also comes with a variety of accessories such as cleaning cloth, pouch, USB and TV cable and a removable portable strap that make this device easy to use and carry with you anywhere.
One thing we noticed that the battery run time with this monocular is only 30min – 45min. We think it is because of its HD resolution videos and images.
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